It seems like interest in the UFO phenomenon and its history is resurgent: Coming hot on the heels of the History Channel's upcoming Blue Book series, which recently cast its lead role, Sony TV's international division is developing a show based on a famous string of sightings that took place in Great Britain.
Titled Rendlesham, the show will focus on a collection of incidents that has been dubbed "Britain's Roswell," referring to the alleged crash of an alien spacecraft near the town of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. In the British case, the incidents happened in December 1980 and involved the reported sightings of lights in a place called Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk, England, which happened to be close to an air base (RAF Woodbridge) that was being used by the U.S. Air Force at the time.
Personnel at the base, including deputy base commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt, claimed to see UFOs over the course of two days. On the first night, Dec. 26, a number of servicemen described seeing a glowing metallic object adorned with colored lights passing through the woods and agitating animals on a nearby farm property. Three small impressions in a triangular pattern, along with burn marks and broken tree branches, were later discovered near where the object was spotted (see photo here).
On the second night, Dec. 28, Halt and a squad were investigating the area when they claimed to observe first a flashing light across a field and later three "starlike" objects floating in the sky and occasionally emitting what appeared to be beams of light.
While Halt later reported the incident in a famous memo titled "Unexplained Lights" and believed he had witnessed an extraterrestrial visitation, the sightings were explained away as various other things, including debris from a meteorite, a fallen Soviet spy satellite, exceptionally bright stars, a prank involving a police car using high-powered lights, and animal activity.
Nonetheless, the incident remains the most famous ever reported in the U.K. and one of the best-known and most widely covered in the history of UFO research, so it makes sense that someone would eventually adapt it for TV or the movies (in fact, a little-known 2014 British film called The Rendlesham UFO Incident — known in the U.S. as Hangar 10 — was based on these events).
The Rendlesham series will, according to Variety, focus on a "complex family drama" taking place at both the time of the sightings and in the year 2020, the 40th anniversary of the incident. Joe Ahearne, who directed five episodes of Doctor Who and also worked on Da Vinci's Demons and other shows, will helm this one.
There's no word yet on a production start date, and neither a cable channel nor a streaming service has come aboard yet to pick up the show, but we'll keep our eyes on this one. And if you want to read more about the Rendlesham Incident, visit here and here.